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Reviews by Marco Innocenti

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1-7 of 7


A Walk In The Park, by Extra Mayonnaise
Out of my league, probably., October 8, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
I didn't understand this game. The prose was superb (some would say a lil' bit too much wandering on the poetic shore), the setting intriguing... but what was this about?

I mean: the goal is obvious but how does (Spoiler - click to show)selling narcos to a bird and offering the same to an old lady fits said goal? Most of the times I was strolling thru the park (uhm, yeah), doing strange things to NPCs or items for the sake of what?

Ah: and the provided walkthrough is broken. So I couldn't actually finish the game, properly. I suppose that's where all the things are explained. Although almost everything the walkthrough told me to do was unclued. It fits the protagonist, maybe... but certainly not me.

Measureless to Man, by Ivan R.
Broken and short, October 8, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
I expected a far bigger game, given the premise.

What I have mistaken for a prologue is indeed half the game. That half is specially well crafted and intriguing... then the game simply breaks. It starts behaving strangely (poor testing of the second half?) and becoming the more and more aimless. And when I started to think "what's happening here?", the game is over.

Left a bitter taste. This could have been a nice piece, if only it didn't wander away so soon.

Absence of Law, by mathbrush

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
How to constraint a parser and give 3 games for the price of 1, October 8, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
Absence of Law (which title needs to be discussed, too), is a technically perfect game, where the player needs to use a custom command line to achieve extreme results. Most of the action is given through a set of three-letters custom-commands and by looking at nested things. The interface (in the online-playable version) is customized too, and offers music as a background, a thing that I've been missing since the days of Castle of Terror (in the Eighties!).

AoL is fun to play, hard and soft here and there, and also very nice to read. It's a story that needs to be told, while keeping all the puzzles that make IF such a fantastic trip, when done properly.

There are a few drawbacks, but those are minor and strictly personal, so they won't remove a single star from the overall rating.

The language puzzle, and partly the cloning puzzle, had me fear I had to drop the game. While the latter is just a matter of trial-and-error, the former proved too hard for me. Probably, the experience was ruined not by the puzzles themselves but by the lack of time for the IFComp scope and by the availability of a walkthrough, which I reverted to too easily.

The music was precious, but sometimes a bit off. I expected it to be ghastly and in Minor, while it too often sounded like merry jingles. This links to another problem (which I admit is only in my mind): much of the content is about dystopian concepts. Although the game is referred to as "comedy", I think the fun fest at the end broke the 4th wall to me. I would have preferred a grimmer closing.

1958: Dancing With Fear, by Victor Ojuel

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Too tight to be true, October 8, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
I liked the setting and the tone of this game a lot. It's nice how the main character is build throughout the story and how you can still discover something about her in the very final scene. Unfortunately, the version I've been playing (original IFComp, first-day release) suffers from a series of drawbacks that spoiled some of the fun.

First of all, the mechanics. Having every single sequence as a puzzle which you have to solve to advance reminded me too much of those old-time games in the style of Robin of Sherwood by Brian Howarth. A little more space to maneuver wouldn't have harmed.

Second: large part of the game is solved by mechanically TALKing TO someone pretty obvious. The parser is reduced enough so that a handful of verbs are needed in total. Maybe, given how the story is nice and appealing, a choice-based text would have been more suited for the occasion. (ETA: this may sound arbitrary and a little bit too far, and it probably is: it was indeed more of a provocation than a real suggestion. We know how branching is/should be one of the main points in choice-based mechanics, and this was obviously not the intent of the author.)

Last: there's a lot of polish to undergo to make this title perfect. Objects that don't disappear in descriptions, others that stick in your inventory after jumps of years; typos (to whom I don't care much, but still there they are...); the lack of interaction with some of the descriptions and a couple of sudden deaths that can be solved only after one died, via UNDO.

This said: there's 6 different endings (which I wasn't able to find), and a lot of story to read and live. If this was given some more time to test it would have been 4 stars at least.

Swigian, by Rainbus North

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Not a "text adventure"., October 7, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
This game is about being inside a simple, animal-like, childish mind. And so, it all revolves around this premise. The minimalism is not plainly esthetic. Guessing who you are may be simple. Guessing at what it's happening still puzzles me, instead. Very nice at setting... the setting; very low in putting up some fight (the game is ridiculously easy).

As a side note: this game would really love having some old-style, pixelated graphics as room descriptions. I would do those for free. :-)

A Beauty Cold and Austere, by Mike Spivey

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
YMMV, October 7, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
ABCaA is an incredibly polished game, with complex mechanics that perfectly work and some good writing. It's major "flaw" is that it requires too much knowledge from outside of the game. The 4 stars are an average between these two contexts: 1) you are not into mathematics and want a game whose puzzles can be solved "from the inside": 3/5 because the game is very, very strong in many aspects but you will eventually never finish it; 2) you like maths and are good at them: 5/5, because the game is a romp which is frankly perfect.

Stupid Creek. Stupid Christmas., by Troy Jones III

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Stupid is who stupid does, January 16, 2012
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
A very elegant variation on the old sheep-wolf-raft puzzle. Very fast, but very complete--with some additional meta-puzzle (i.e. finding the name of the main). Polished and funny, and despite it being very short one really gets in contact with the characters. Everyone has felt that way, one day or another, during the teen age. Five stars for the effective writing, and five for the mood.


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